7 March 2016

The Little Yellow Door, a quirky Notting Hill cocktail bar

When you think of Notting Hill doors, most people think of that infamous blue door on Portobello Road, complete with foppish scallywag Hugh Grant. Regardless of their international cinematic heritage, I’m always fascinated about the stories behind closed doors. Much can be said (or occasionally made up) about the goings on behind a particularly quirky chamber entryway, and the Little Yellow Door doesn’t disappoint. What is a glossy yellow hatch that you might ordinarily stride by on Notting Hill Gate Road, contains a curious gastronomic interior.

The Little Yellow Door, a quirky Notting Hill cocktail bar

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Little Yellow Door, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily revisit (and perhaps redeem my kleptomaniac ways.)

Set up a couple of years ago by a group of hospitality friends the pop-up restaurant and bar themed as a spacious Notting Hill flat share, is host to cocktails nights, supperclubs and house parties over the weekends that seem to magnetically attract young gallants and party girls. One rainy weeknight recently, Amanda and I were invited for a taste of their supperclubs (normally held on a Friday night).

Winding our way up the steep stairs and surrendering our damp coats, we were offered a small piece of Lego (which promptly disappeared into my handbag only to surface when I got home a few days later - the Lego piece surfaced a few days later I mean, I didn't actually move into the flatshare for a few days only to return home when my clean clothes ran out) to hold onto as we entered the eclectic space.

The Little Yellow Door, a quirky Notting Hill cocktail bar

Overseen by Cam & Bert - the resident fish - lighting is soft and low, the supperclub tables cozy and the walls lined with a crazy, awesome assortment of memorabilia. There are patchwork cats, flowered wall papers, mugs with images of the regulars faces on them, blackboards covered in visitor graffiti and plenty of power points for you to really make yourself at home after too many selfies (a necessity in this modern age, clearly.) The decor is properly funky, the loos are lined with records and contain enough bits and bobs to make you think the female flatmates will pop back in at any point...

A new (fictional) flatmate occasionally comes onto the scene, providing global inspiration for updating the menus. "Hank", with his American roots, cowboy boots (I don't know why I automatically imagine all American characters with chaps, Levis and stetsons) and Stars & Stripes flag hanging proudly in the corner, is the current epicurian. Think Cajun crab, ranch dressing, philly cheese steak rolls and plenty of meat.

A photo posted by Emma (@londonkiwiemma) on



We began (as all good nights do) with cocktails; handed a vodka, prosecco and passionfruit concoction topped with toasted marshmallows called 'Passion of Christ' and then delicate tea cups christened 'The Libertine', a delicate earl grey infused gin and bitters cocktail with egg white foam. I know Amanda preferred the first which I really enjoyed (and wanted s'more heaven), but my antipodean palette rejoiced sipping the tea cups, aromatic with bitters often unused in UK cocktails.

The four course supperclub menu was served largely family style in big plates centered in the table. The room lit up with blogger lenses and flashes as our first course came out - a selection of sausage slices, pickled watermelon skin (this is a real thing?? I shouldn't be surprised I guess) and refreshing quarters of iceberg lettuce drizzled with tangy dressings. Second course was individual bowls of "the best clam chowder you'll ever eat" or so our waiter claimed. It was pretty darn good if our empty bowls are anything to go by, creamy with chunks of clam and sweetcorn to provide a traditional counterpoint.

 The Little Yellow Door, a quirky Notting Hill cocktail bar

Our main course was a platter full of meat - pulled beef shin, buffalo wings, smoked hot dogs and bourbon glazed ribs - served with a plethora of sides, mac and cheese, grilled corn on the cob, kraut slaw and potato salad. Amanda and I may both went for a second taste of the delicious pulled beef and potato salad whilst we caught up. Distracted by jugs of glow in the dark cocktails on the bar, platters of oreo, banana and bourbon hard shakes and malt cream brownies, the room was transformed into a more lounge setting where we left everyone settling (unfortunately it was a school night...)

Weirdly, next to the cocktails, for me the highlight of the night was actually the slightly cringeworthy team game of writing a poem about The Little Yellow Door with our tablemates. You would think that a room full of bloggers who enjoy writing would jump at the chance to put pen to paper, but slightly awkwardly we nervously grinned at each other, having only swapped basic details like names and blog address. 

The Little Yellow Door, a quirky Notting Hill cocktail bar

Luckily, our table had a secret weapon – a lovely Welsh photographer who seized the job at hand, and laughingly we were all drawn into composing stanza in celebration of our dinner venue. Somehow we ended up in second place (the competition tied and was given to the bar staff to cast their votes). So close, so close.

Thank you Little Yellow Door, after your quirky evening, we went gentle into that good night, tipsy and amused.

Have you been to any unconventional meals?

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